Holga in the Studio, First Attempt ( 10 Pictures )

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I lead a fairly busy life. I teach English full time, work a part time job two nights a week, and am a Master’s degree student. I’m six weeks into my first semester as a graduate student. My major, perhaps you can guess, is photography.

I know I may never be able to pay the bills with photography. It might not be the most practical thing to study, but I absolutely love it. I’m obsessed with the challenge of capturing odd, quirky, and beautiful things. I love how I can use photography as a tool of expression and as a conduit of creativity. At the same time, I dread having a routine 9-5 style job. Don’t get me wrong, I adore teaching and am very satisfied as an instructor. Yet, so often, as I’m commuting to work or heading to class, I’ll think “the lighting is perfect today! Too bad I’m going to be stuck indoors…all while longing to be outside, happily snapping away some film photos.” Perhaps with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, I’ll become a photographer. I suppose time will tell.

I’m currently studying studio lighting as a part of my Master’s course in photography. The other students are shooting digitally, but I’m sticking to film : ) I came up with the idea of shooting a Holga 120N in the studio. I couldn’t find much information online, so it doesn’t seem like this is something commonly done. However, I’m pleased with the results and I’ll most likely be trying this again in the future. As I loaded up the Holga with Ilford FP4+ film, I knew what I wanted to do. The first several shots were to be standard studio photos. Then, in the middle of the roll, I would get experimental with double exposures. Some of the double exposures would be two quick shots of the same subject with two flashes. The other double exposures would be long exposures on the B setting ( bulb ) with either one or two flashes. For those, I would want to show movement.  Lastly, for the the final three photos on the roll, I’d shoot silhouettes. Then, I’d go into the changing room of the darkroom, take the film out in complete darkness, manually rewind it, put the film back into the Holga, and then advance it to the last three frames again. ( This would have to be done because the Holga can only advance its film forwards – not backwards ). Then, I’d go outside and double expose those last three silhouette photos with something else. I knew from previous experimentation that double exposures often work well with silhouettes, for the dark areas are filled in nicely with the second shot.

Anyhow, that was my plan for this photo shoot, and I executed it precisely as described above : ) The last silhouette / doubles were taken at night with a tripod and lengthy exposure times, although you can’t really tell. If you look closely at the last image, you can see a car’s headlights streaking through. I might try this again with color film and see how those shots turn out. Anyhow, what you see here is my first attempt at shooting a Holga in the studio. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with. These ten photos of my fellow student Min Soo were taken with a Holga 120N on Ilford FP4+ 125 ISO film, personally souped up in the darkroom with D76. © Patrick Bresnahan

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